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New England Chief Administrators of Catholic Education Gather in Wells

WELLS---In an effort to develop and cultivate a supportive network of professionals and peers, the superintendents of Catholic schools in New England gathered for a two-day retreat in Wells to share, explore, and learn.

“Having this group gathered allows for the sharing and discussion of best practices across all of Catholic school education's domains, which include mission, academics, finances, advancement, and enrollment management,” said Steve Perla, president of ADAC, which provides education and philanthropic services to private schools and co-sponsored the retreat. “Superintendents and their teams can learn from each other and bring new ideas and energy to their schools.”

Held at the Village by the Sea, the retreat began on Sunday, September 11, and continued into Monday. In addition to discussions about current issues confronting Catholic schools, the participants heard presentations from a variety of individuals with expertise in the field, including Kevin Baxter, Ed.D., from the University of Notre Dame’s Alliance for Catholic Education; John Hurley of Riverside Insights; and representatives from the National Catholic Educational Association, Sophia Press, and the Institute for Credentialing Excellence.

“We covered a host of topics,” said Marianne Pelletier, superintendent of Maine’s Catholic schools. “It provides an opportunity for all of us to collaborate and make our Catholic schools stronger.”

It also offers the chance to be renewed and reenergized in the faith that serves as the inspiration behind their schools. On Sunday, Bishop Robert Deeley welcomed the superintendents and other retreat participants with an opening Mass celebrated at St. Mary Church in Wells.

“Academic excellence is, of course, at the heart of a Catholic education. But a full education for life that we seek to give also includes moral values, discipline, and service,” the bishop told the educators. “Persons are created for relationship. Our schools strive to help our young people to see the ties they have with others, and the responsibility they have for each other. In our schools we do not just impart information but form our young people to live in our world. As educators, you have a tremendous responsibility.”

That responsibility is to form the minds and hearts of future generations.

“It is yours to bring hope and open a future to our young. It is yours to show them a way of life through the life you live,” said the bishop. “Here at Mass, we are reminded that the work of educating our young is a work we do together as Church.”

In attendance at the retreat were superintendents and other educational administrators from the Archdiocese of Boston, Massachusetts; the Diocese of Bridgeport, Connecticut; the Diocese of Burlington, Vermont; the Diocese of Fall River, Massachusetts; the Archdiocese of Hartford, Connecticut; the Diocese of Manchester, New Hampshire; the Diocese of Norwich, Connecticut; the Diocese of Providence, Rhode Island; the Diocese of Springfield, Massachusetts; the Diocese of Worcester, Massachusetts; and, of course, the Diocese of Portland.

“In their roles as evangelizers, Catholic school leaders and teachers themselves grow in and deepen their own relationship with the Lord,” said Perla. “These gatherings also support, at and by which teachers and school leaders get to know each other as not only colleagues, but fellow evangelizing disciples among whom authentic, trusting, and loving relationships can and do develop.”